Saturday, September 23, 2023


Campground crowding. Discussion for October 3, 2020

Updated weekly

More people than ever are taking up RVing. These newbies have determined that RVing is the safest way to travel in our pandemic times. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can make some sense of this and find ways to work around the problem.

Here are a few observations from our readers.

55+, PLEASE…

Children are loud, there is no denying that. Children on wheels in an otherwise peaceful campground? Deafening. Reader Bob Seitz writes, “I too am seeing more newbies in federal, state and private parks which I visit every year. There are more kids also with tons of bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other toys. A lot of the newbies are not considerate campers and don’t seem to care about their fellow campers. I intend to try to stay in 55-plus parks more often and hope more parks will change to 55-plus in the future.”


Now isn’t this a good idea… (But we must add… Who the heck forgets about their upcoming camping trip??) Brenda Young informs us, “We are staying at more RV resorts because the federal and California state parks have been closing unexpectedly due to the pandemic and now wildfire risk. We usually make our destination reservations 6 months to the day in advance. Yes, there are empty campsites when the online system says the campground is full. The federal reservation system is trying to improve the situation by sending reminder emails a week ahead of the reservation.”

This is Brenda’s nice setup


Michael McCracken is considering selling his RV out of frustration over the lack of vacancies in RV parks. Would you ever consider selling yours over the same frustration?

Michael writes, “I see no change in the no vacancy issue in RV Parks in the future. I have been full-timing for 7 years. Way too many RVers for the number of parks and they just keep buying. Obviously not many research the problem before they purchase an RV or they fall for the dealer sales pitch. The park in Northern Arizona where I have spent the last 6 months completed a new section with 50 new sites to their existing 153 sites. A month after opening the new section, it was full. Very frustrating situation for both new and old RVers. I don’t plan on traveling far from my home state of Arizona in the future. I have been considering selling my RV.”


Hey, here’s a thought from Brenda Odom: “As wagon master of our club, getting multiple sites during the same period has been impossible. Several members have health issues and need FHU sites, doubling the difficulty. We simply cancelled 2020.
“As a couple, planning trips has been difficult and time-consuming, but doable. The real dilemma is when staying longer than 5 nights – weekends are prime time, especially in-state/fed parks and rec areas. We love staying in one area a week or two, then moving on, but our MO has definitely changed this year. Our next month’s trip has Fri. nights in one place, Sat nights in another – and Cracker Barrels in hot demand!
“Add price increases, discounts disappearing, overloaded highways, new owners all cutting teeth at the same time, and we are seriously talking about finding our own acre or two.
Anyone interested in an owners’ co-op?”


“Many difficulties finding a place to stay for several nights at a time. Making reservations for say 4 nights someplace you have never been previously is difficult. What happens when you get there and you don’t like the place? Costs have climbed to the point that a motel could be cheaper and they make the bed – I know all the points, trust me. I’ve only been camping since 1966. Tour companies have ruined many spots, in my opinion, dropping 30 or more people at the same time at a viewpoint. Those people act like they own the place as they paid for the bus trip. Most RV parks pack people in like sardines in a can trying to get as many dollars per square inch as they can.” —Stanley Twerion

We hear you, Stanley. We hear you.


Ever thought about snowbirding in Florida? Reader Dan Hilton offers some advice: “A great number of resorts along the Florida Gulf Coast have been sold out for the ‘winter season,’ January through March, for the last 6-7 years.
“These parks will have from a few hundred sites to as many as 500 sites and many will have permanent park models. They usually will not allow junky RVs or sites.
“Many snowbirds return to these same parks year after year. They get to know the local area and make many lifelong friends. To guarantee their site for the next season, the park will require a deposit of $500 to $1,000 starting in early March to keep their same site starting the next January. These resorts also keep a set number of sites for transient RV travelers that can be reserved for a few days to a few weeks or first-come, first-served. You will pay through the nose for the sites in season.
“If you want to try the Florida Snowbird lifestyle, I would suggest that you make your reservations starting in July. Like any campground the longer you stay the daily rates can come down dramatically. In the off-season, you can probably get a site any day of the week.”

Read last week’s column on Crowded Campgrounds.

Some questions for you:

• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or are you having no problem finding places to stay?

• If campgrounds continue to be crowded and RVing continues to become more popular, will it affect how or when you RV?

• Do you have any tips or secrets you’d like to share about finding campgrounds that aren’t as crowded?

Please use the form below to answer one or more of these questions, or tell us what you’ve experienced with campground crowding in general.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. The answer to the over crowding is to have your rig set up to boondock at a moments notice.
    If you make a reservation at a campground, get there and it totally sucks for any number of reasons you need the option of tell the campground to take a hike. Don’t be a slave to the RV parks. Its not going to get any better then it is right now. Spend the money and get the rig ready for boondocking, your going to need the option to survive in the Camping World Jungle

  2. Lately I have not been able to plan ahead at all because of repair issues. But I did get to my favorite COE park on a Tuesday ,hoping to hold a first-come-first-serve site for a week of peace and quiet. Nope, the FCFS loop was completely full on a chilly Tuesday. Found an open reserve-site, settled in for peace and quiet for 2 days, only marred by the clown across the inlet running his big truck motor for an hour while ‘setting up’, wrecking a perfect sunset over a glassy lake.

    Friday I had a 4 p.m. checkout, and some guy showed up at 11 am, motor running, to ask when I was leaving and proceeded to stay there watching me, motor running, even after I asked him to leave and offered to phone when I left. It’s not enough I have to clear out every weekend, now I’m getting hounded out early! Wish I had known every clod in the world was going to take up RVing back in February, before investing in a new rig.

  3. Didn’t have a problem out west recently. Was able to get in where we wanted. Planned it maybe 6 weeks in advance. Noticed long lines each morning though, at one National Park in Wyoming, but that was from all the last minute dudes trying to get a spot on the spur of the moment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.